2 out of 4 stars
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Nerin Delvori is certain that his bloodline was meant to rule. His humanoid alien race has degenerated into frailty, but with the help of an ancient, trapped evil which has promised Nerin power in exchange for its freedom, he plans to seize planet-wide control and restore his race to glory. The only wrinkle in his plan is the existence of the Virage, an infamous, humanoid monster who has the power to stop Nerin in his tracks. When the Virage is suddenly located, injured and unconscious, Nerin moves to kill him and secure his own victory. It’s too bad for Nerin that it is his sister who is placed in charge of the Virage’s medical care and that the two of them share intimate past history. Now it is Nerin’s own sister who stands in his way, protecting the one man who could mean his downfall. And behind it all, the malevolent spirit entity still lurks, seeking dominion for itself.
In Lost Dreams the Four Were Bound, written by Bradley R. Blankenship, is the first volume in The Genean Chronicles. It is best described as an alien fantasy novel, although there are touches of true science fiction.
The author’s writing style is ornate, with abundant description and little explanation. This creates a story that is felt rather than read, with passages washing over the reader and providing emotion with few concrete events. The first third of the book contains very little plot, consisting mostly of elaborate dreams and descriptive exposition. I appreciated the depth of feeling Blankenship conveyed in his writing, although it did sometimes make the plot feel slow.
The storytelling could use some refining. The first and last chapters, as well as one chapter in the middle, concern the president of a highly advanced, technological society reporting to a hearing committee about a hacking incident. The remainder of the book tells the story of a medieval-level fantasy race grappling with evil magic being released from its cursed binding. I combed back through the seemingly out-of-place chapters in search of a connection to the remainder of the book, but found nothing. It felt as though the author was trying to tell two separate, very distinct stories at the same time, not even of the same genre. Other details, such as the tragic story of one character’s murdered fiancée, are also left hanging, with little to no connection to the remaining events. It is likely that this will be corrected in later books in the series, but in the meantime it makes for a jarring read.
Errors existed throughout the book, from misspelled words to missing punctuation and homophone confusion. The author’s writing is good, but that does not exempt the book from requiring the attentions of an editor.
There is gore and profane language, but no more than would be expected in a medieval fantasy novel. Sex, meanwhile, was abundant to an almost ludicrous degree. There was some sort of sexual content, if not a full-blown sex scene, in very nearly every chapter; this is impressive, given that the book contains a whopping 66 chapters. The content of these scenes was described alternately in flowery euphemism and in modern, vulgar slang. Prostitution, incest, pedophilia, and rape all featured prominently, each being displayed on multiple occasions. Additionally, most of the sex seemed entirely unrelated to the plot, existing merely for its own sake. I don’t mind reading sex scenes as a rule, but the extreme surfeit of it felt gratuitous to the point of obscenity.
In Lost Dreams the Four Were Bound earns a score of 2 out of 4 for its imaginative world-building and dramatic flair, even if it still needs refinement. It loses one star for its errors and a second for its incomplete storytelling and excessive lewdness. It would most appeal to lovers of alien fantasy who are willing to muddle through the confusion of a world created but not explained. It is absolutely not appropriate for children or teenage readers.
In Lost Dreams the Four Were Bound
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